Apple's Ups and Downs, Microsoft's Disruption

Apple leaps (and spills a drop on the way)

This week Apple announced it’s quarterly profit, and it was terrible. I’m kidding – we all know Apple makes more profit in an hour (~$6 million/hr in net profit) than most of us will see in a lifetime. Last quarter was no exception, ending with a posted profit of $18 billion, shattering Exxon’s previously held record of $15.9 billion. Demand for iPhones were a huge part of the success, with 74.5 million phones sold last quarter alone.

Yet the tech commentator arena is always ringing with predictions of Apple’s imminent demise, especially when the conversation turns to Google. But consider this: the variances in currency value meant that Apple lost 5% of its profit last quarter, and that tiny, 5% drop of $3.73 billion is more than Google’s total quarterly profits. Let that sink in for a minute and then wonder why people continue to fear for Apple. The swallow of coffee that splashed out of the cup when Apple was walking too fast was more than Google’s entire mug. 

“This is so bad, people could literally un-publish apps.”

So it wasn’t all hearts and flowers for Apple this week. iTunes Connect had an interesting, erm, hiccup, as it began logging people in to other accounts. It doesn’t seem like a huge deal until you realize that this could allow some random developer, to un-publish your app. WHAT?! While the issue is now fixed, this security hole (crater) have left a lot of egg on Apple’s gold-plated face.

Meanwhile, over at Microsoft…

Remember when Amazon forked Android and met with pretty embarrassing failure? Well, for reasons we can’t comprehend, it looks like Microsoft is about to fund the same thing. They announced this week that they’re investing in the “rogue Android startup” Cyanogen, hoping to weaken Google’s hold over Android. Hmm.

Good luck at waging this your war with the 80 people Cyanogen employees plus it’s “army” of 9,000 volunteers. Cyanogen would need to get massive scale across devices and massive adoption from programmers to hope to compete against Google. Amazon’s effort have been pretty anemic despite scale and massive financing.

Another huge issue is Google. See Google doesn’t take kindly to forking, and puts developers and manufacturers that install a forked version out on an island. Those that manufacture a forking Android phone can’t also manufacture Android.  And forked Android can’t get Google Play Services meaning no Google Maps, Google Play store, Location Services, Drive API, Google Ads, Wallet, etc. So does this mean that Microsoft is admitting that Windows Phone with it’s 3% market share is officially a non-starter? Probably not.

The one thing we can say about this is that it pleasantly surprises us to see Microsoft investing in a competitive startup, and seeking to be the disruptor of itself rather than the disrupted. Maybe Microsoft is tired of its staid, anti-innovation image and is looking to change.